Another Tesla Spontaneously Combusts, Killing Driver

When it rains, it pours, or in the case of Tesla, it spontaneously combusts.

Less than a week after a Tesla Model S erupted in flames following a “horrific” crash in Ft. Lauderdale, Flordia,, fatally trapping the two teenagers who died inside, in a similar accident to one that happened in Mountain View, California, last December, while a second Model S rammed a stopped Salt Lake City firetruck at 60mph, mercifully without any fatalities, the Swiss tio.ch reports that yet another Tesla has burst into flames after crashing on the A2 highway near Bellinzona, killing the 48-year-old German driver who, like the Florida ten nagers, was trapped inside because flames spread too quickly after the collision to permit escape or any rescue attempt.

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Tesla crash in Switzerland, note the total destruction of the car

According to the Swiss publication, the 48-year-old German driver, from Baden-Wurtermberg, lost control of the vehicle a few meters after the Monte Ceneri tunnel, crashing into the central guardrail, an accident that was remarkably similar to an October 2017 crash in Austria, in which a Model S also burned down, however without any fatalities.

The car then overturned and caught fire, fatally trapping the driver.

According to the Facebook page of the Bellinzona fire department, the flames were once again started by the lithium-ion batteries after the crash. The Fire department explains that “the violent impact of Lithium Ion Batteries could probably have caused a phenomenon called “thermal runaway”, i.e, a rapid and unstoppable increase in temperature (think in terms of a reactor core meltdown in a nuclear power station.).” It is becoming clear that the lithium ion batters used in electric cars are a highly unstable power source.

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It’s unclear if the car had its autopilot engaged at the moment of the crash, although now that both the NTSB and NHTSA are looking into last week’s tragic Tesla crash which killed two teenage boys under similar circumstances, we are confident the answer will be available soon. Several Tesla accidents have involved the car going out of control while autopilot was driving. This spate of accidents, along with others in self driving cars from other manufacturers is probably a bigger setback for the autonomous car nerds than electric vehicles in general

As was reported yesterday, Max Schwall, the Tesla exec who until last week had been Tesla’s “primary technical contact” with both the NTSB & NHTSA, resigned quietly and moved to Tesla’s competitor Waymo. Commenting on this departure, we wondered if it suggests that the “company’s troubles with government regulators may be set to escalate.”

Judging by the trio of crashes in just one week, two of which fatal, it’s a safe bet the answer is “yes.” This leaves Elon Musk’s dreams of world domination, like his cars in the crash scene pictures, in total meltdown.

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More Trouble For Tesla – It’s Official This Time

Those who hailed Tesla founder Elon Musk as the New Messiah, the technological miracle worker who was going to be saviour of the planet will be crying into their vegan corn flakes this morning as Tesla’s woes multiply.

Only  day after two teens tesla20s20crash20floridawere killed in a “horrific” Model S crash in Fort. Lauderdale, Florida, when the two 18-year-olds were immolated after being trapped in their burning vehicles, the USA’s National Transport Safety Board, alarmed perhaps that this is the latest in a series on incidents in which Tesla cars displayed their tendency to spontaneously combust, has launched an investigation into the incident.

The probe comes two months after Tesla and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board were at loggerheads over the board’s investigation into a deadly, March 23 crash in Mountain View, California  involving a Tesla vehicle on Autopilot, will be mainly focused on “electric vehicle battery fire” as Elektrek reports that batteries from the other crash under investigation reignited days after the accident.

The NTSB issued a statement announcing their investigation into the crash. NTSB Chairman Robert S. Sumwalt, on whom Elon Musk recently hung up, commented:

“NTSB has a long history of investigating emerging transportation technologies, such as lithium ion battery fires in commercial aviation, as well as a fire involving the lithium ion battery in a Chevrolet Volt in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  In addition, the NTSB is currently investigating a fire involving the transportation of hydrogen gas for fuel cell vehicles. The goal of these investigations is to understand the impact of these emerging transportation technologies when they are part of a transportation accident.”

The NTSB sent 4 investigators to Florida and will “primarily focus on electric vehicle battery fire, including fire department activities and towing operations.”

The second Tesla safety probe this year comes on the back of news that the Mountain View Fire Department shared its report about the aftermath of the fatal Tesla Model X accident in Mountain View with other fire departments, which indicates they suspect serious problems with Tesla cars.  That is now also under NTSB investigation.

In the report (published via KTVU), the fire department said that they monitored the battery pack and it reignited days after the March 23 accident, with Mountain View Fire Chief Juan Diaz commenting:

“In this particular case, six days later, the temperature inside those cells increased to the point of ignition. That’s why the car reignited. You have stored energy that is frankly unstable.

Think of a nuclear meltdown in which the plutonium rods spontaneously combust over and over as there is no way to cool them sufficiently. It’s kinda like that.”

Amusingly, Tesla recommends using “large amounts of water” to extinguish a battery fire in its vehicles (water is not recommenedd for extinguishing electrical fires) and using a thermal imaging camera to monitor the battery for at least one hour after it is found to be completely cooled:

“If the high voltage battery catches fire, is exposed to high heat, or is bent, twisted, cracked, or breached in any way, use large amounts of water to cool the battery. DO NOT extinguish with a small amount of water. Always establish or request an additional water supply.”

More appropriately, the company also offers online training for fire departments about what steps to take when dealing with its vehicles after a crash. Effing long ones, we would guess.

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A few years ago Google boss Eric Schmidt said the company’s aim was to get as close to creepy as they could without crossing the line. Well they had crossed the line long before he said that. The latest Google wirdness is the much hyped driverless car. It looks as if it was designed by a five year old. On the other hand it might be the ideal car for paedophiles who want to go cruising for jailbait.

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Tesla just months from total collapse, says hedge fund manager

Another Tesla demonstrates the makes built in barbecue feature neds some work (picture source: Zero Hedge
Another Tesla demonstrates the makes built in barbecue feature neds some work (picture source: Zero Hedge

The American electric-car company Tesla will be bankrupt within four months unless its CEO Elon Musk “pulls a rabbit out of his hat,” according to hedge fund manager John Thompson. “Companies eventually have to make a profit, and I don’t ever see that happening here, this is one of the worst income statements I’ve ever seen and between the story and the financials; the financials will win out in this case.” the head of Vilas Capital Management told Market Watch.”

Thompson manages $25 million and his Tesla short is the fund’s biggest position. He has been betting big against the electric automaker for years.

Last April, Tesla stock hit a record high of around $300 and continued to grow to $389.61. Nevertheless, Thompson’s fund still managed to churn out a 65-percent gain for the year. Since then, Tesla has fallen sharply and Thompson is confident his bet is about to pay off. Tesla shares were down more than 8 percent at Wednesday closing to $279.18. The hedge fund manager said that if his prediction comes true, his fund could surge by another 50 percent. He noted that he is investing $500,000 of his own money.

“Tesla, without any doubt, is on the verge of bankruptcy,” Thompson told clients in an email. He explained that funding will be hard to come by in the face of problems in delivering the Model 3, declining demand for the Model S and X, extreme over – valuation on the stock market, and a likely downgrade of its credit rating by Moody’s from B- to CCC.

Another fatal crash earlier this month that left a Tesla Model X smouldering on the shoulder of the southbound lane of Highway 101 in Mountain View has hammered Tesla shares to their lowest level in a year while pushing the yield on its debt above 7% (though an ill-timed downgrade from credit rating agencies also had something to do with that).

Once again, Tesla finds itself under scrutiny from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. The last brush with the regulator ended without incident – the agency ruled that a fatal Florida crash was the result of driver error, and that Tesla’s controversial autopilot software (which has been implicated in several fatal accidents) was not at fault, though this verdict should be treated with some scepticism as it is based on the fact that the car was on autopilot, which is not a technology sold as offering full vehicle autonomy. It seems odd therefore that a judge can say the driver was at fault when in fact the car should have a failsafe mechanism to prevent stupid drivers from abusing what is intended to be an electronic assistant.

As two teams from the NTSB sift through the evidence gathered from the site of the latest demonstration of Tesla’s self – immolating feature, the company said in a blog post published Tuesday night that it hasn’t been able to analyze any of the data collected from the scene – and therefore doesn’t yet know what caused the crash – because the car was so badly damaged, as Bloomberg reported.

The company hasn’t been able to retrieve the vehicle’s logs and is working with authorities to access them. Tesla hasn’t disclosed whether the driver had engaged Tesla’s partially autonomous driving system, known as Autopilot, when the crash occurred.

Interest in the effectiveness of self-driving technologies is at crisis thanks to a deadly Uber Technologies Inc. accident that happened days earlier involving an autonomous car and a woman who was crossing the street with her bicycle.

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